Starting up the Society

On becoming Chairman, Jean Archer shared her personal memories how the Society started 40 years earlier:


I welcome this opportunity to say how honoured I feel to be the new Chairman of this Society – and yet at the same time I am overwhelmed at the thought of following in the footsteps of Eric Corns, who was Chairman for so many years and did so much for the Society – a daunting act to follow!

However, I am not entirely new, as John Camp sought my help in 1956 when he first had the idea to start the Society, and it may be that members would like to know a little of this early history.

There was a good response to a letter John wrote to the Bucks Examiner, setting out his ideas, the aims of the Society he envisaged and asking those interested to contact him. The first meeting was held in the Church Rooms, where John was elected Chairman and myself, Secretary. Among those voted on to the Committee were Leslie Elgar Pike (author of the ‘Book of Amersham’) , Pam Appleby (now Chairman of the Chiltern District Council), Mr Prizeman of Arklow Kennels, Mr Cornwall (Bank Manager) who became Treasurer, George Langland (Verger of St Mary’s), and such prominent Amersham names as Francis Free, John Fuller, Mr Bridgstock Choat and Mr Paget of the Malt House, where Committee Meetings were held for several years. At that meeting, John first voiced his ambition to see a Museum in Amersham. He remained Chairman for at least two years.

This happy band forged ahead, only shortly to be confronted with Planning applications in connection with the alterations to Shardeloes House – could anything have been more sensitive and pertinent to the Society and to Amersham!

Watch this space in the next Newsletter for the story of the Society’s first exhibition!

Jean Archer
February 1997 Newsletter